Participating in a study abroad program in a country different than yours definitely changes you. It changes ignorance into knowledge, conformism into a longing for progress, and memorization into learning. After this marvelous experience, I encourage everyone to participate of a study abroad program.
I had the opportunity to live and study in Finland for six months and they were unforgettable. The benefits of studying abroad are many and not only educational, but personal as well. My experience allowed me to develop and strengthen a variety of valuable skills in many areas of life including: adapting better to change, developing healthy and long-lasting relationships, conflict resolution, language skills, among others.
During my semester of study abroad, I was fortunate to meet people from all over the world that were also passengers in this great adventure with me.
Many people call Finland’s education system the best in the world. I think this has to do not only with the quality of the professors, the materials in class or the specializations, but also with their mentality. From an early age students in Finland are encouraged to think creatively instead of just receive and digest specific information.
In Finland I was also able to interact with many locals through my involvement with the Finnish Adventist Church and its community. I was also very fortunate to meet many people in the place where I lived, since I shared an apartment with 7 other female students from different countries. The countries represented in the apartment were France, Spain, Poland, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The stories, experiences and challenges I shared with this group of students are unforgettable. It is as if I have a new extended family.
Being in Europe, I was also able to experience the cultural differences between Europeans and my own culture. Just as many of them had no idea where Puerto Rico is located, I also realized that I wasn´t aware of all of the different countries on the European continent. Through this kind of opportunity you truly experience the word exchange in all kinds of ways. You “exchange” with people, with cultures, knowledge and ways of life.
For me, one of the main challenges of this experience was the money. There are many ways to find funds to study abroad such as grants, donations, sponsorship. If I was able to go on this trip, with a lot of help and selling cookies, you can do it too. Give wings to your dreams and take advantage of this great opportunity. I recommend you study abroad. Your life will not be the same, but rather an enhanced version of it!
Below are the links to some blogs about my experience in Finland: